We regularly get asked about age discrimination when applying for jobs. That’s no surprise, as many people looking for part time jobs are ‘mature’ candidates, and about 4% are looking for flexibility as they approach retirement.
Age discrimination is, of course, illegal. But sadly, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
We like to think that employers who use Timewise Jobs value the greater experience that our candidates bring (they certainly tell us so!) But if you’re at all worried that your age is a factor in not getting a job, take a look at these tips:
1. CV dates
It isn’t necessary to include jobs from your 20s if they aren’t relevant to the job you’re looking for now. Your CV should be no longer than two pages, so keep your previous work experience relatively current. Your most recent two or three jobs is usually enough.
You could also consider removing the dates from your education section, to prevent employers from working out your age.
2. Experience counts
You have one big edge over younger candidates: you can’t beat experience. Make sure it shows! In your CV (and at the interview, when you get one), don’t just list your job duties – anyone can do that. Instead, make sure you refer to specific achievements, and that it’s clear that you have in depth knowledge and proven skills.
On your CV, ‘Promoted to Account Manager in 1985’ will do you no favours. But ‘8 years’ experience managing an accounts team of 5 people’ will look fantastic.
3. Positive outlook
Interviewers really don’t like it when candidates refer to their age. Don’t let them get an inkling of your fears! Avoid reflecting on the past - adopt an energetic approach and keep positive.
4. Modern look
Your presentation is extremely important in interviews, especially if you’re applying for a client-facing role. Everything from your choice of hairstyle, clothes and shoes influence the interviewer’s opinion of you, so make an effort!
Ask a younger family member or friend to give you advice on how to add a modern twist to your hairstyle and wardrobe. You don’t have to overdo this - no wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you need to feel comfortable. Just aim for a smart, contemporary look.
Every candidate is expected to have a decent understanding of how to use the latest versions of key Microsoft programmes (Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Word). Make sure you’re up to date – if you’re asked to do a skills test at interview, any rustiness will soon be exposed.
Using social media platforms, especially LinkedIn and Twitter, can also help demonstrate that you’re up to date with technology. Many employers search for candidates when drawing up their shortlist. So make sure you have a presence, and that it creates a good impression.